Royal Academy of Engineering – Ingenious

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News release

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre project wins funding to engage audiences with the SKA’s engineering

Engineers working on the Square Kilometre Array, the world’s largest telescope, are being given the opportunity to engage the public in innovative new ways thanks to the award of funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The Ingenious public engagement grant scheme of the Royal Academy of Engineering is supporting 22 projects across the UK that creatively engage the public with engineering.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is one of the most awe-inspiring and audacious science and engineering projects of the 21st Century. It brings together More than 500 engineers and scientists in 100 research institutions and leading companies from around the world to address the huge engineering challenges in order to construct the world’s largest radio telescope (see The telescope will be located in South Africa and Australia, with construction set to start in 2018 and last over a decade.

In March 2014, the Rt Hon David Willetts MP announced that the UK will invest £100million in the project, citing that, after the International Space Station and the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s next great science project is the Square Kilometre Array.

The SKA international headquarters is currently located at Jodrell Bank. From here, the whole project is being planned and coordinated. The UK also has its own ‘components’ of the project – with UK teams working on data transport, signal timing, high performance computing and telescope array design.

Jodrell Bank is also home to a Discovery Centre (the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre – JBDC, part of The University of Manchester), which receives 160,000 visitors each year, including 16,000 for school Education visits.

This project brings together the Public Engagement and Education expertise of the JBDC team with the UK-based engineers of the SKA project to develop public engagement activities to captivate the imagination of both the general public and the engineers of the future.

The engineers and scientists working on the new SKA Engineering public engagement project include those from the SKA Organisation itself and the Universities of Manchester, Cambridge and Oxford.

Other projects funded by Ingenious this year include artist-engineer collaborations and robotic workshops for schools.

Professor Sarah Spurgeon FREng, Chair of the Ingenious funding panel and Professor of Control Engineering and Head of School, University of Kent, said: “The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious projects are finding new and innovative ways to get the public – whether student, family, or adult-audiences – engaged with engineering. Our projects don’t just showcase the diversity of engineering – they also give the public a meaningful opportunity to interact with engineers, ask questions and share their views.”

Dr Teresa Anderson, Director of The University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, said “The Square Kilometre Array is an ambitious international project which brings together advanced engineering and cutting-edge science. We are very much looking forward to engaging the public and schools with its inspiring engineering as construction begins in the next few years.”

Ingenious is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

A full list of projects funded by the scheme this year can be found at the following link:


Notes for Editors:

About Ingenious

Ingenious is the Royal Academy of Engineering’s public engagement grants scheme for creative public engagement with engineering projects. The scheme is supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Further information on the scheme is at:


  1. About the Royal Academy of Engineering.

As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.


  1. About Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics

Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics is part of the School of Physics & Astronomy at The University of Manchester. The Centre has over 180 staff and postgraduate students working on all areas of astronomy and astrophysics and incorporates the radio astronomy facilities of the Jodrell Bank Observatory – the Lovell Telescope and the e-MERLIN array (see


  1. About the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre

The University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre receives over 140,000 visits per year, including 16,000 school Education visits. The Centre creates and hosts a wide range of innovative Science and Engineering Engagement activities (see


  1. About the Square Kilometre Array

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is one of the most awe- inspiring and audacious science and engineering projects of the 21st Century. 11 Member countries are participating to fund the construction of what will be the world’s largest radio telescope, set to revolutionise our understanding of the Unverse. (see


For further information contact:


Manisha Lalloo

Royal Academy of Engineering

T: 020 7766 0683